Recurring Issues Encountered by Distance Educators in Developing and Emerging Nations


  • Clayton R. Wright
  • Gajaraj Dhanarajan Wawasan Open University
  • Sunday A. Reju National Open University of Nigeria



quality assurance, distance education, international, developing nations, development


This article explores a number of challenges faced by e-learning or distance educators in developing and emerging countries, provides a context for many of the challenges, and outlines some measures devised to overcome them. These educators must determine a sound rationale for employing online learning, recognize that technology is only part of the educational transformation process, address the lack of infrastructure and the cost of internet bandwidth and equipment, counter the cultural imperialism of courseware from Western nations, deal with limited educational resources, place a greater emphasis on quality assurance systems and change negative perceptions of distance education, respond to the needs and concerns of both students and faculty, access or develop up-to-date educational resources, and consider the implementation of mobile learning. The continued growth and success of distance education in developing and emerging nations will depend on the extent to which issues covered in this article are addressed as they bear on the quality of the learning experience provided to students.

Author Biographies

Clayton R. Wright

Clayton R. Wright, PhD, has been actively involved with a number of international collaborative efforts aimed at advancing educational systems through the use of learning technologies. He gained international experience with the Association of Canadian Community Colleges, the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, the Commonwealth of Learning, the Commonwealth Secretariat, United Nations Children's Fund, and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. Dr. Wright has led workshops about distance education, curriculum development, instructional design, and professional development, and conducted educational evaluations in many countries, including Bangladesh, Botswana, Brazil, The Gambia, Hungary, India, Japan, Kenya, Malaysia, Nigeria, Russia, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, St. Lucia, Switzerland, and Thailand. E-mail:

Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Wawasan Open University

Tan Sri Dato' Emeritus Professor Gajaraj Dhanarajan, Vice Chancellor and CEO of Wawasan Open University in Malaysia was previously President of the Commonwealth of Learning and CEO of the Open University Hong Kong. He holds B.Sc. and M.Sc. degrees from the University of Madras, a D.I.C. and a M.Sc. from the Imperial College of the University of London and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of Aston in Birmingham, U.K. As one of the world's leading advocate and expert on open and distance learning, he has contributed to global discussions on the subject and advanced the work of international development agencies. E-mail:

Sunday A. Reju, National Open University of Nigeria

Sunday A. Reju, PhD, is the Director of the Regional Training & Research Institute for Open and Distance Learning (RETRIDAL), National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) which provides expertise in open and distance learning (ODL) within West Africa. He has served on international projects including being a lead consultant for the World Bank project on literacy survey in Nigeria and Nigeria's facilitator of a 7-Nation African Workshop for Science and Mathematics Teachers organized by the Africa-America Institute. He has facilitated workshops in various aspects of ODL involving educators from Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and The Gambia. Dr. Reju has contributed to various subjects on ODL in Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Malaysia, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. He was a corresponding member of the Programme Planning Committee for the 5th Pan Commonwealth Conference (PCF5). He holds a PhD in Computational Mathematics. E-mail:



How to Cite

Wright, C. R., Dhanarajan, G., & Reju, S. A. (2009). Recurring Issues Encountered by Distance Educators in Developing and Emerging Nations. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 10(1).



Research Articles